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Going Further
Hunter's Point South Park.
Albert Vecerka / Esto

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tends to highlight the differences between himself and Michael Bloomberg any chance he gets. But on sustainability and climate change, Gotham’s current mayor has not only lauded his predecessor’s policies, he has built upon them. And so on Earth Day, Mayor de Blasio unveiled his update to Bloomberg’s PlaNYC—a wide-ranging blueprint aimed at cutting the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Now, that plan has even more ambitious goals, a new focus, and a new name: One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City.

“PlaNYC looked at sustainability, looked at resiliency. These were crucial, crucial issues to address and it did it very well,” said de Blasio when unveiling OneNYC. “But we knew we needed to go farther.” He argued that the plan had to become broader to incorporate issues like inequality because “you can’t have environmental sustainability without economic sustainability.”

   
Click to enlarge.
Courtesy NYC Mayor's Office
 

After calling for a minimum wage hike and pledging to bring 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty by 2025, de Blasio turned to sustainability, where superlatives abounded: the city will send zero waste to landfills by 2030, cut greenhouses gasses by 80 percent by 2050, and have the cleanest air of any large American city by 2030.

Within the lengthy OneNYC plan, there are multiple proposals—many of which are already in progress—to move the city toward this idealistic future. On air quality and greenhouse gas emissions, specifically, the administration focuses much of its attention on mass-transit. By providing better transportation options in the outer boroughs, it believes car-free travel will become a more appealing option to more New Yorkers.

This year, the NYC DOT has plans to roll out three new Select Bus Service routes, which will be followed by five more in the following two years. The bike lane network will also be expanded 200 miles, 20 of which will be protected, over the next four years. And then there is de Blasio’s much talked about five-borough ferry service that is expected to face a host of logistical and operational challenges as it comes into service.

All of these plans were previously unveiled. New was de Blasio’s call for the MTA to study an expansion of the subway system along Utica Avenue, a particularly transit-poor corridor in Brooklyn. The mayor was upfront about how difficult it would be to see the extension through to fruition, given the current state of the MTA. “There is a reckoning that has to happen in terms of where we’re going with the MTA, and that’s going to involve the state, that’s going to involve us, that’s going to involve a lot of other partners in the region to make sense of it,” he said at the press conference.

 

On greenhouse gas emissions, the mayor wants to see an 80 percent reduction by 2050 over 2005 levels. This target—another idealistic figure—was announced last fall. De Blasio said it can be achieved by drastically reducing energy usage in buildings. This starts with the retrofitting of public buildings and boosting renewable energy production. According to the OneNYC plan, “For privately-owned buildings, the city will create a thriving market for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments and services.” On air quality, the plan calls for an acceleration in the retrofitting of oil boilers.

As for the “zero waste” goal, the city plans to ramp up curbside recycling and composting. The city is also exploring “waste audits” for large commercial buildings that would be similar to energy audits.

On resiliency, the city will continue implementing the first phase of a $3.7 billion coastal protection plan created during the Bloomberg years. While the city searches for funds to implement the entirety of the plan, it will continue with ongoing and planned capital and infrastructure projects including installing new bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, and permeable pavers. OneNYC specifically mentions “The Dryline”—a landscaped berm and parkland for Manhattan’s East Side. The project, designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group and Starr Whitehouse, was awarded $335 million in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rebuild By Design competition.

The mayor said OneNYC is intended to be more of a rallying call for action than a collection of specific policy proposals. “We do not provide all those answers because we don’t have them all yet,” he said.

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Claiming Crowdus
CNU and Deep Ellum Community Association invited the public to envision new uses for Crowdus Street.
Courtesy Deep Ellum Community Association

Dallas is, by any standard, a car-oriented city. This, however, does not preclude the possibility of the city possessing areas of good urban space. In the past few years, Dallas has seen the improvement and creation of many key public spaces within the city; Klyde Warren Park, Lower Greenville, Main Street Garden, and the Continental Avenue Bridge to name a few. The mentality of the city has been steadily, if slowly, shifting toward a greater focus on enhancing the pedestrian experience and providing public space.


Courtesy Callison
 
 

It was within this improving climate that the Congress for New Urbanism (CNU) hosted its 23rd annual meeting in Downtown Dallas from April 29 to May 2. One touted strategy of the CNU’s “Next Generation” group is Tactical Urbanism, which is essentially citizens taking initiative to improve their city’s public spaces, with (or sometimes without) official support.

A stone’s throw from the CNU conference’s location is Deep Ellum, a historic neighborhood is in the midst of a renaissance. But this active neighborhood is without any sort of public communal gathering space. In response to this deficiency, the Deep Ellum Community Association birthed the idea of shutting down three blocks of the lightly trafficked Crowdus Street during the CNU conference and creating a pedestrian-only communal space. A group of local CNU members, community activists, architects, landscape architects, and urban designers took up the challenge of implementing this vision using the principles of Tactical Urbanism.

Rik Adamski, of AL Strategies and a CNU member, organized a design team that consists of local firms Callison (architecture) and TBG (landscape architecture). At the onset, the design team engaged the community to determine what they wanted for this space. Through public meetings they discovered that the desire of the community is for a practical space that can be used day and night.

Some specific ideas garnered through community input include an interactive chalk/graffiti wall, outdoor movie projection area, shade structures, a green “loop” connecting main community focal points, and secure bike storage, among others. The challenge for the design team is to synthesize these ideas into a cost-effective, impactful, and yet temporary solution. A master plan informed by the community’s feedback has been developed.

Though the installation only lasted a few days, the effort has great potential to make a lasting impact on the neighborhood of Deep Ellum. The hope is that the City of Dallas will take note of the positive change brought about by this infusion of public space into the heart of Deep Ellum and make this change permanent. Ask anyone involved in the effort, and they will tell you with unguarded enthusiasm what a positive addition this would be for the neighborhood.

This type of grassroots urban design initiative is not without precedent. The same strategy resulted in permanent road closures and the creation of pedestrian-only space in multiple locations throughout New York City and San Francisco.

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Sustainable development plan for Northeast Ohio takes top honors in 2015 National Planning Awards
A plan to steer northeast Ohio toward sustainable growth won a top planning award this week, joining schemes and firms from Austin to Los Angeles on a list of the year's best urban planning work. The American Planning Association on Tuesday awarded its 2015 National Planning Awards, naming 17 firms, plans, and individuals worthy of an “excellence award,” and another 12 to their list of “achievement” award winners. View the full list on this page below, or on the APA's website. The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium took home the top prize for Vibrant NEO 2040—a plan to “do things differently” in the region, which has exemplified the planning perils of deindustrialization, depopulation and the cascading after-effects of those broader trends on a local level. Vibrant NEO is the first regional plan ever implemented in northeast Ohio, which comprises five planning groups across Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Youngstown. image07

2015 National Planning Excellence Recipients

Daniel Burnham Award for a Comprehensive Plan
  • Vibrant NEO 2040 – Northeast Ohio
The HUD Secretary’s Opportunity & Empowerment Award
  • Mueller Redevelopment – Austin, Texas
National Planning Excellence Award for a Best Practice
  • First Last Mile Strategic Plan & Planning Guidelines – Los Angeles, California
National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach
  • Making Planning Public: Newark Zoning Workshop – Newark, New Jersey
National Planning Excellence Award for Implementation
  • Green City, Clean Waters: Philadelphia’s 21st Century Green Stormwater Infrastructure Program – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
National Planning Excellence Award for a Communications Initiative
  • Boston Complete Streets Design Guidelines – Boston, Massachusetts
National Planning Excellence Award for Transportation Planning
  • moveDC – Washington, D.C.
National Planning Excellence Award for Environmental Planning
  • Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan – Louisiana
National Planning Excellence Award for Economic Planning & Development
  • Phase 1 Glenwood Refinement Plan – Springfield, Oregon
National Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design
  • The BIG U – New York, New York
The Pierre L’Enfant International Planning Excellence Award
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey Urban Regeneration Plan – Monterrey, Mexico
National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Advocate
  • Honorable Greg Cox – San Diego, California
National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Agency
  • Maryland Department of Planning – Baltimore, Maryland
National Planning Excellence Award for an Emerging Planning & Design Firm
  • Raimi + Associates – California
National Planning Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity & Social Change (in Honor of Paul Davidoff)
  • State Representative Harold Mitchell, Jr. and the ReGenesis Project – Spartanburg, South Carolina
National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Pioneer
  • Donald Shoup, FAICP, PhD – Los Angeles, California
National Planning Excellence Award for a Planning Firm
  • Perkins+Will — San Francisco, California

2015 National Planning Achievement Recipients

The Achievement Awards are a way for the awards jury to recognize good planning work and are similar to an honorable mention. National Planning Achievement Award for a Best Practice
  • Realizing the Potential of The Porch: A Case Study in Data-Driven Placemaking – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
National Planning Achievement Award for Economic Planning & Development
  • Maryland State Arts Council – Arts & Entertainment Districts Program – Baltimore, Maryland
National Planning Achievement Award for Environmental Planning
  • Living Breakwaters – New York, New York
Lake Tahoe Sustainability Action Plan – California and Nevada National Planning Achievement Award for Implementation
  • Branch Brook Park – Newark, New Jersey
National Planning Achievement Award for a Grassroots Initiative
  • Opa-locka Community Development Corporation/Gold Coast Section Pop-Up Park Initiative – Miami-Dade County, Florida
National Planning Achievement Award for Public Outreach
  • Pop-Up Outreach for the Southeastern San Diego and Encanto Neighborhoods Community Plans – San Diego, California
National Planning Achievement Award for Transportation Planning
  • WalkBikeNC – North Carolina
National Planning Achievement Award for Urban Design
  • Tongva Park & Ken Genser Square – Santa Monica, California
  • Greening Lower Grand Avenue – Phoenix, Arizona
The Pierre L’Enfant International Planning Achievement Award
  • West End Community Plan – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • Les Isles/ Domtar Lands Redevelopment – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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Peek inside New York City's newest, and endlessly delayed, subway station
In entirely expected news, the extension of the 7 line subway to Manhattan's Far West Side has been delayed yet again. The New York Times reported that the new 34th Street station, which was scheduled to open by the end of 2013, and then by the summer of 2014, won't actually be ready until July. What's the latest hold up? Well, apparently, the station's diagonal elevator has been causing some problems, and the MTA still needs to test the fire alarm, communication system, escalators, ventilation fans, and third-rail power. So, a lot still needs to happen before the public can ride the rails. In the meantime, the MTA tucked some pretty pictures inside a recent report to its board to prove that it is making progress on the station—right, the station that was supposed to open in 2013. Anyway, take a look below to see what New Yorkers will finally be able to enjoy this July, or whenever this thing opens. [h/t CityLab]
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Sandhogs continue to make progress on New York City's enormous $11 billion East Side train tunnel
New York City's MTA has posted another collection of East Side Access construction photos to remind New Yorkers that its majorly delayed and hugely over budget project is still actually chugging along. When East Side Access is ultimately completed, at the cost of nearly $11 billion, it will connect Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central making life easier for about 80,000 commuters. But that's a long ways off—last we heard, the project will not be completed until 2023. As for where the project currently stands, the MTA explained in a statement, "Work continues on the Manhattan side of the East Side Access Project below Grand Central Terminal with waterproofing, rebar arch installation and drilling for couplers. In addition, temporary shoring for concrete slabs that will make up track and room levels can be seen." To see for yourself, take a look at the photos below which were captured by the MTA deep beneath city streets.
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MTA Off Track: Record ridership just one of the problems facing New York City transit
Overcrowding on New York City subway trains is becoming a major problem for commuters. According to new data from the MTA, there were 14,843 weekday delays caused by overcrowding in December alone. The New York Post found that the number is up 113 percent from the same period a year ago. Fixing the overcrowding will not be easy for the MTA as it is trying to accommodate record ridership and still dealing with damage from Superstorm Sandy.
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How the Koch brothers helped stop Nashville's plan for Bus Rapid Transit
The plan to build Nashville’s first-ever bus rapid transit (BRT) system is dead and the billionaire Koch Brothers helped kill it. The Tennessean is reporting that after months of controversy, the city has ceased all planning efforts for the Amp, a 7-mile BRT system that would have connected Nashville’s neighborhoods and given the city one of its first major pieces of smart mass-transit policy. Like many major public transit projects, the Amp had its detractors from the beginning. In Nashville, a local auto mogul, limousine company owner, and attorney joined forces to form “Stop Amp”–a group dedicated to pressuring the city into pulling the plug on the plan. That coalition was reinforced by Republican lawmakers and, yes, the Koch brothers. In March, the Tennessean reported that the state chapter of the brothers’ right-wing political advocacy group Americans For Prosperity (AFP) helped create a bill that would “make it illegal for buses to pick up or drop off passengers in the center lane of a state road.” It was a thinly veiled attempt at killing the Amp outright. AFP’s Tennessee director, Andrew Ogles, told the newspaper that the Kochs’ organization didn’t funnel money toward the cause; rather, “the [anti-Amp] bill grew out of a conversation he had had with Senator Jim Tracy, the sponsor.” A compromise bill that was pushed by the mayor softened that language and allowed the plan to move forward. But still, the plan to give Nashville its first bus rapid transit system failed. With the Amp dead, city officials say they will be looking for new “transit solutions” for Nashville.                  
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The New York Times endorses The QueensWay linear park plan
The QueensWay has had a bumpy rollout. In October, when the Trust for Public Land and the Friends of the QueensWay unveiled their plan to transform an abandoned railway in Queens into something like the High Line, they were immediately faced with skepticism and criticism from around the city. That pro-QueensWay plan came with plenty of eye candy courtesy of splashy conceptual renderings from dlandstudio and WXY. This all got people asking why millions of dollars should be spent turning the rails into a fancy park when the rails could be refurbished to provide a useful commuter rail line. But the park plan has had its champions, and the New York Times can now be counted among them. “Of the two tantalizing possibilities—rail or trail—trail now has the upper hand,” wrote the Times’ editorial board in a recent piece praising the plan. It claimed that building the QueensWay would transform “a humdrum stretch of residential-commercial-industrial-whatever with the sylvan graciousness that the High Line brought to the West Side of Manhattan, but on a far bigger scale.” The board explained that the "rail" plan could actually be the more complicated of the two options largely because the project would have to be added onto the MTA's “overflowing, underfunded to-do list.” Instead, wrote the board, build the QueensWay and address commuter needs with dedicated bus lanes. 

Fulton Center

Arup, Grimshaw, James Carpenter Design Associates

David Sundberg / Esto

Zak Kostura

In addition to its daylighting function, the installation conceals large air ducts that draw warm air, or smoke, from the tunnel system and exhaust it out of the building.

Courtesy Arup

The recently opened Fulton Center has brought a scrumptious taste of sexy British high-tech to Lower Manhattan. Subway riders accessing or departing from the Gordian Knot of transit lines that the center serves—2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, N, R, Z—now have the opportunity to pass through a sci-fi fantasy of a pavilion building.

A robust grey metal exoskeletal framework supports the rectilinear glass facade—blast-proof, you understand, and offering a contemporary take on the depth and modularity of downtown New York’s historic cast iron edifices. Elemental granite floors anchor the interior, cluing you into the fact that you are about to descend into the earth. Two upper levels of yet-unoccupied retail and restaurant space hover within the glass box, floated above the ground floor on V-shaped columns with rounded GFRC covers that give the curved volume’s glistening glass walls an outward cant. Passing under the commercial component—a moment of compression—stairs and escalators descend one flight to an intermediate level, and a soaring atrium rises above—the corresponding moment of release.

Roughly circular in plan, the intermediate level offers sightlines up to the street as well as down into the subway system, an excellent position from which to find your direction into, or out of, the rabbit warren of tunnels. At one end, a snaking stairway rises up from the granite floor, curving sensuously around a glass elevator shaft and providing access to the upper levels. Digital screens ring the circular cut in the street-level floor plate, adding another layer of kinetics to an already busy space and more of the sense that you’ve just entered a scene from Neuromancer.

The atrium is bathed in an otherworldly light that filters down from an oculus skylight, some 110 feet above. The light has a diffuse, almost material quality, similar to the fog of light seen in certain James Turrell works. This quality is the result of an optical diffuser/reflector that rings and hangs down from the oculus. Composed of crossing radial stainless steel cables that support diamond shaped aluminum panels, it looks like it could be the glowing interior of a nuclear power plant’s cooling tower.

Entitled Sky Reflector-Net (2013), this $2.1 million component of the architecture is the result of a collaboration between Arup, Grimshaw, and James Carpenter Design Associates. MTA Arts and Design and the MTA Capital Construction Company commissioned the work, along with the whole project, more than a decade ago. In March 2002, in the wake of the destruction of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the MTA hired Arup to conduct a planning study for a downtown transit center. The study, which was delivered four months later in July 2002, got the MTA $847 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration, part of the huge outlay of cash made available by the Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further Recovery.

The building that now stands on the corner of Fulton Street and Broadway is remarkably consistent with the recommendations of the initial study, a primary component of which was the use of daylight as a wayfinding device. Arup performed a solar analysis that established an ideal geometrical relationship between the site, the building, and the oculus to take optimal advantage of the sun’s path throughout the course of the year. One of the chief challenges of the site in this regard is that the street corner faces north, whereas sunlight in this hemisphere comes from the south. In that direction, tall buildings hem in the site. In answer, the oculus rises out of the roof like a chimney, and its low-e coated, insulated glass top is tilted 23½ degrees south, to capture as much light cresting the neighboring buildings as possible. The exterior of the oculus is clad in a stainless steel batten system with a diffusive coating that prevents hotspots and glare.

In February 2004, Carpenter was brought on to work with Arup and Grimshaw on developing a system that would encourage the light captured by the oculus to reach two levels under the ground to the subway system. His studio worked with the architects and engineers on reflection studies and finding a structure and materials for the system. The team eventually decided on a cable net. Made of 316 stainless steel, it attaches at 56 points to gusset plate and tension rod connections on the compression pipe at the top of the oculus, and at 56 points on the atrium structure below. TriPyramid fabricated the 4,000-pound net in its Westford, Massachusetts, facility and drove it to the site on the back of a tilt-bed truck. An installation team from Enclos lifted the net into place using eight individually operated hoists. As cable nets do, when erected and pulled into tension it naturally assumed its cooling tower shape.

Attached to the cable net are 952 1/8-inch-thick, diamond shaped aluminum panels with a mechanically applied anodized coating. Carpenter worked with German optical aluminum company Alanod to develop the coating, which has both diffusive and reflective qualities. The custom finish is now part of Alanod’s product line and is called Scattergloss, an apt name that well describes what happens to light as it lands on Sky Reflector-Net. It works as well for daylight as it does for electric light. At night, 32 metal halide lights grouped at the top of the installation in clusters of four transform the net into a giant lampshade.

The panels are perforated, 80 percent toward the bottom of the net and 20 percent toward the top. This gradient causes the installation to seem to dissolve as it reaches toward the ground. It also allows views to pass through where the net covers the upper atrium floors. As importantly, the perforations provide for the more-or-less unimpeded passage of air. In addition to directing light, the net conceals the large ventilation and smoke-evacuation ducts that ring the upper reaches of the atrium, lending a glowing face to a machine built in the memory and for the prevention of Fulton Center’s tragic historical impetus.

RESOURCES

Cable Net:
TriPyramid
tripyramid.com

Aluminum Panels:
Durlum
durlum.com

Optical Finish:
Alanod
alanod.com

Installer:
Enclos
enclos.com

Commissioned in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Fulton Center brings much-needed clarity to the tangle of subway lines that the station serves. A large part of the wayfinding strategy is Sky Reflector-Net, an art installation that directs daylight captured by the building’s raised oculus two levels under the ground.

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Fulton Center
David Sundberg / Esto

Arup,
Grimshaw,
James Carpenter Design Associates

The recently opened Fulton Center has brought a scrumptious taste of sexy British high-tech to Lower Manhattan. Subway riders accessing or departing from the Gordian Knot of transit lines that the center serves—2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, N, R, Z—now have the opportunity to pass through a sci-fi fantasy of a pavilion building.

A robust grey metal exoskeletal framework supports the rectilinear glass facade—blast-proof, you understand, and offering a contemporary take on the depth and modularity of downtown New York’s historic cast iron edifices. Elemental granite floors anchor the interior, cluing you into the fact that you are about to descend into the earth. Two upper levels of yet-unoccupied retail and restaurant space hover within the glass box, floated above the ground floor on V-shaped columns with rounded GFRC covers that give the curved volume’s glistening glass walls an outward cant. Passing under the commercial component—a moment of compression—stairs and escalators descend one flight to an intermediate level, and a soaring atrium rises above—the corresponding moment of release.

   
Commissioned in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Fulton Center brings much-needed clarity to the tangle of subway lines that the station serves. A large part of the wayfinding strategy is Sky Reflector-Net, an art installation that directs daylight captured by the building’s raised oculus two levels under the ground.
David Sundberg / Esto
 

Roughly circular in plan, the intermediate level offers sightlines up to the street as well as down into the subway system, an excellent position from which to find your direction into, or out of, the rabbit warren of tunnels. At one end, a snaking stairway rises up from the granite floor, curving sensuously around a glass elevator shaft and providing access to the upper levels. Digital screens ring the circular cut in the street-level floor plate, adding another layer of kinetics to an already busy space and more of the sense that you’ve just entered a scene from Neuromancer.

The atrium is bathed in an otherworldly light that filters down from an oculus skylight, some 110 feet above. The light has a diffuse, almost material quality, similar to the fog of light seen in certain James Turrell works. This quality is the result of an optical diffuser/reflector that rings and hangs down from the oculus. Composed of crossing radial stainless steel cables that support diamond shaped aluminum panels, it looks like it could be the glowing interior of a nuclear power plant’s cooling tower.

 
Zak Kostura
 

Entitled Sky Reflector-Net (2013), this $2.1 million component of the architecture is the result of a collaboration between Arup, Grimshaw, and James Carpenter Design Associates. MTA Arts and Design and the MTA Capital Construction Company commissioned the work, along with the whole project, more than a decade ago. In March 2002, in the wake of the destruction of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the MTA hired Arup to conduct a planning study for a downtown transit center. The study, which was delivered four months later in July 2002, got the MTA $847 million in funding from the Federal Transit Administration, part of the huge outlay of cash made available by the Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further Recovery.

Zak Kostura
 

The building that now stands on the corner of Fulton Street and Broadway is remarkably consistent with the recommendations of the initial study, a primary component of which was the use of daylight as a wayfinding device. Arup performed a solar analysis that established an ideal geometrical relationship between the site, the building, and the oculus to take optimal advantage of the sun’s path throughout the course of the year. One of the chief challenges of the site in this regard is that the street corner faces north, whereas sunlight in this hemisphere comes from the south. In that direction, tall buildings hem in the site. In answer, the oculus rises out of the roof like a chimney, and its low-e coated, insulated glass top is tilted 23½ degrees south, to capture as much light cresting the neighboring buildings as possible. The exterior of the oculus is clad in a stainless steel batten system with a diffusive coating that prevents hotspots and glare.

 

RESOURCES

Cable Net:
TriPyramid

Aluminum Panels:
Durlum

Optical Finish:
Alanod

Installer:
Enclos
In addition to its daylighting function, the installation conceals large air ducts that draw warm air, or smoke, from the tunnel system and exhaust it out of the building.
Courtesy Arup
 

In February 2004, Carpenter was brought on to work with Arup and Grimshaw on developing a system that would encourage the light captured by the oculus to reach two levels under the ground to the subway system. His studio worked with the architects and engineers on reflection studies and finding a structure and materials for the system. The team eventually decided on a cable net. Made of 316 stainless steel, it attaches at 56 points to gusset plate and tension rod connections on the compression pipe at the top of the oculus, and at 56 points on the atrium structure below. TriPyramid fabricated the 4,000-pound net in its Westford, Massachusetts, facility and drove it to the site on the back of a tilt-bed truck. An installation team from Enclos lifted the net into place using eight individually operated hoists. As cable nets do, when erected and pulled into tension it naturally assumed its cooling tower shape.

   
Zak Kostura
 

Attached to the cable net are 952 1/8-inch-thick, diamond shaped aluminum panels with a mechanically applied anodized coating. Carpenter worked with German optical aluminum company Alanod to develop the coating, which has both diffusive and reflective qualities. The custom finish is now part of Alanod’s product line and is called Scattergloss, an apt name that well describes what happens to light as it lands on Sky Reflector-Net. It works as well for daylight as it does for electric light. At night, 32 metal halide lights grouped at the top of the installation in clusters of four transform the net into a giant lampshade.

The panels are perforated, 80 percent toward the bottom of the net and 20 percent toward the top. This gradient causes the installation to seem to dissolve as it reaches toward the ground. It also allows views to pass through where the net covers the upper atrium floors. As importantly, the perforations provide for the more-or-less unimpeded passage of air. In addition to directing light, the net conceals the large ventilation and smoke-evacuation ducts that ring the upper reaches of the atrium, lending a glowing face to a machine built in the memory and for the prevention of Fulton Center’s tragic historical impetus.

 

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2000 Shawnee Mission Parkway
Mike Sinclair

The first time Steven Karbank was aware that his new office property was something special was when he booked a concert there. “We’d blown out the second floor, so it was a complete shell,” recalled Karbank, chairman of the Karbank Real Estate Company, one of Kansas City’s largest developers of industrial buildings. “We happened to have some musician friends in from out of town, and we arranged an impromptu concert on the second floor. We ordered some delicatessen food, had some family in and… Something magical happened that night.”

What happened was that 2000 Shawnee Mission Parkway, an unremarkable 1968 masonry and concrete building in the inner suburb of Mission Woods, Kansas, had shown her secret enchanted side to a developer to see if he would notice. And he did. The parkway seemed to disappear from view as the guests gazed through the single-pane windows, up the leafy residential hills to the south, nothing but soft porch lights as far as the eye could see. Karbank felt he had found a haven right in the middle of one of the region’s most heavily trafficked corridors.

 
 

His plan had been to take the Class C property, a rare foray of his into office development, and make it a LEED-certified Class A space. But he hadn’t seen himself in the picture until that night. Steven’s father, Barney Karbank, had founded the company in 1950, and all that time it had been headquartered in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. “We were on the 39th floor, with pretty much a 365-degree view, but no chance to get fresh air,” said Karbank. But here was an incredibly intimate connection to the outside and a chance to relocate his company much closer to where he, his employees, and many of his clients lived.

By then, architect Kyle Patneau of Kansas City–based RMTA, a longtime collaborator with Karbank, was already executing a design to open up the three-story building. He worked with Principal in Charge Mike Paxton, Pete Baird, and John Renner. “It was pretty depressing inside,” he said of his first walk-through. “You didn’t have any connection to the outside.” On the north end, every other section of brick was replaced with glass. On the south end, the load-bearing masonry was removed entirely and replaced with a curtain wall system. More than 50 percent of the building is now glass.

 

RESOURCES:
Cork rubber flooring
Zandur
Furnishings
Knoll
Vitra
Herman Miller
Custom (manufactured by Square One Studio)
Lighting
Flos
Pinnacle Architectural Lighting
Bamboo decking
PlybooDex
Floor tile
New Mexico Travertine

 

While all of this was going on, the client added a floor for himself. Karbank asked to see the trees; Patneau and Paxton went further, cantilevering the roof 13 feet so the chairman’s office could enjoy a 270-degree view of the canopies. Karbank immersed himself in the project. “We were tweaking design every day through the construction,” he said. “The head of the concrete company had worked on one of my dad’s projects in the 1950s. Many of the subs who worked on the project knew him. So when we said we were naming the building in honor of my dad, they asked, what can we do to get this done?”

   
 

Patneau described Karbank as “a client who demands the absolute best,” yet because of his industrial focus he had never pursued LEED on a project. Still, when the designers suggested a path from LEED Certified to Silver, Karbank said yes. And when Patneau confirmed a micro-generator would easily get the project to Gold, he said yes to that as well. The twin 65-kW Capstone generators go online this month.

The penthouse suite was also designed so that with a light tug on a pocket door and a few rolling planters to serve as a barrier, the fourth floor’s east wing can be rented out as a party space. It is the same space where visitors arrive off the elevator, where they can sit in the modern waiting area and conference room, and have the tree house experience that first captivated Karbank.

“One of my favorite things is to see people’s reactions,” he said. “Even people who live nearby here, have driven by here 10,000 times, have no idea what it is like until they get up here.”

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In Construction> New York City's East Side Access tunnel dons a yellow raincoat deep underground
Every so often, New York City's MTA shares a batch of construction photos to remind New Yorkers that one of its long-delayed projects is still chugging along beneath their feet. The latest photo set takes us underneath Manhattan where the MTA is busy borrowing tunnels that will one day connect the Long Island Rail Road to Grand Central. The whole project is expected to cost nearly $11 billion and won't be wrapped up until 2023, so no need to rush through the gallery.